Spiritual Wisdom from Elder Proclu
Monk Proclu (Nicău)
Elder Proclu was born on November 13, 1928 in the Romanian village of Micolu Belan, in the Neamts region. At age twelve he left for the monastery of Sihastria, where he lived as a novice for eight years and received the monastic tonsure in 1948. Monk Proclu was a faithful spiritual son of Archimandrite Cleopa (Ilie) and followed his words all his life. In 1959, the campaign began in Romania against monasteries, when they were closed and all the monks who had not reached retirement age were expelled. This included Fr. Proclu. He was thirty-one years old. At the blessing of Elder Cleopa he returned to his native village and began to live the heremetic life, secluding himself in a poor hut. Fr. Proclu spent the rest of his fifty-eight years of life in this ascetic labor and on January 27, 2017 peacefully departed to the Lord in the eighty-ninth year of his life.
Let’s do everything out of love!
I am glad that you are in search of the Lord Jesus Christ. Whoever holds fast to the Church will acquire paradise. For whomever the Church is Mother, God is his Father. Otherwise in vain do we pronounce the prayer, “Our Father”. Whoever prays “Our Father” must accept the Church as his mother.
In reaching the place where it is written, “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,” we have to think whether we have offended anyone in any way but never asked forgiveness for this. Or, has anyone ever asked us to forgive his mistake and we did not forgive him? If I don’t do what it says in the prayer, it means that I am lying when I pray, and I am not a true child of God.
Truly, one can only say “Our Father” if he forgives all who have caused him pain, difficulties, or sinned in any way against him. Whoever does not forgive, well I don’t know how he can pray that prayer. Such people are cruelly mistaken.
The greatest problem of our times is enmity. The heart that is filled with anger cannot receive the Holy Spirit!
When you are overtaken by remembrance of wrongs, your heart is filled with anger and your soul feels that it is in hell. To the best of our ability, let’s not take revenge on those who offend us. Let’s not remember evil from anyone; and if anyone upsets us, let us pray for him: “O Lord, forgive the one who has upset me!”
The best way to defeat the devil is by patience. As long as we endure and do not take revenge, the spirit of peace calms us. To the degree that we pray for our enemies and take all the blame on ourselves, we will feel great peace in our souls. And if our thoughts tell us that “so-and-so is also to blame and not just me,” and this thought conquers us, then the Holy Spirit leaves us, we begin to feel heaviness in our souls, and we can’t endure anymore.
If a person has no humility, then after many punishments, blows, and sorrows he begins to acknowledge that he is nothing but an animal, a beast, and at times even lower than a beast. Then he begins to seek the Truth, the Light, and he becomes ashamed that he sinned. And if he still has days left in his life, he begins to repent. But if he doesn’t… God preserve us!
Sorrows and hardships help us acquire the gift of dispassion and humility. The gift of dispassion is acquired especially by those who do not want to take revenge.
If I want to help someone, I need to help him with mercy; I have to have mercy for him, and everything I say to him must be said with mercy. I will achieve nothing by gnashing my teeth, for it is the Lord’s commandment to do everything with love.1
Judgment of our neighbor drives away the activity of the Holy Spirit
In difficult situations, like prison, evening (night) prayer is very helpful. Let us pray to the Good God with all our hearts! And as we do this, so that our prayer might be accepted, let us not bear grudges against anyone; and if anyone bears a grudge against us he won’t achieve anything—as long as we bear no hard feelings against anyone. Then our prayer will be acceptable to God. It is a great thing to pray without having any unpleasantness with anyone else! Nighttime prayer is very valuable.
Some come to me and say: “So-and-so cast a spell on me and the devil entered into me. I am tormented; I went to the Unction services, went to church, but to no effect.
I say to them, “Look, these prayers help very much if when the time comes to lay down to sleep we do not go to sleep with a distracted mind, but fall asleep with prayer and bear no evil against anyone.
As long as I consider that so-and-so cast a spell on me, my prayer has no power. The Holy Spirit helps when we bear no evil against anyone.
If it should happen that I judged someone or said something bad about someone, I can correct this sin by running to confession, remembering that person in prayer and never saying anything bad about him.
If we see that someone is looking at us with anger, we need to pray in thought for him that the Good God would bring him peace. This helps very much in winning over a person who has enmity toward you. An enemy can be won over like this: with gifts and a kind word. Then the Holy Spirit casts out the evil spirits that have taken him captive, and he makes peace.
Whoever does not want to go to church and make a good beginning has a conscience that no longer reproaches him, and God abandons him. And then, since the Holy Spirit has abandoned him, the devil forcefully gets the upper hand over him and he can end up drowning, or fall under an automobile, or even hang himself.
Do not fight against a person; we have to fight against the spirit of evil. Our fight is like this: We cannot do anything of our own strength, but the Holy Spirit helps us to the measure of our prayer with humility.2
Monk Proclu (Nică